- Right to fair trial — International criminal law — Customary international law — Deference — Burden of proof — Standard of proof — Law of treaties
This introductory chapter provides an overview of the right to a fair trial. An unfair trial can be devastating to an individual defendant—removing their liberty, destroying their reputation, even taking away their life. Unfair trials are also damaging to entire societies as they are used to undermine democracy and oppress minorities. As such, the right to a fair trial is one of the most fundamental components of human rights. Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is the starting point and organising principle of the right to a fair trial, but the scope and content of the right is not always easy to discern given the multitude of international-law sources that define it. Understanding the right to a fair trial may require reference not only to its interpretation by courts, treaty bodies, rapporteurs, experts, and scholars, but also the preparatory work of the treaty and the circumstances of its conclusion.
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